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Midnight Munchies

Our pick of the best after-dark dining spots

Published on August 10th 2011.

Midnight Munchies

Brick Lane Beigel Shop
Mon – Sun: 24 hours

Crowd: People will travel from afar to have a bite of a Brick Lane beigel but its location means it’s a hotspot for Shoreditch creatives after a night out

Now an institution in its own right, this Brick Lane bakery makes bread throughout the night for that much-craved 3am doughy treat. There are plenty of fillings on offer, but it seems the salt beef variety is the most coveted. The bakery, which produces 3,000 beigels a night, has been open since 1976, and the amiable manager, Sammy Minzly, has worked there right from the beginning. Don’t go in expecting to find American style bagels, but for those looking for an authentic Jewish bread product, you’ll be pressed to finder a cheaper, more popular eatery in the capital.


Vingt QuatreVingt Quatre

Vingt Quatre
Mon – Sun: 24 hours

Crowd: Post-clubbing Chelsea rahs

This Chelsea eatery tries to sound cosmopolitan with their overly fancy French title, but their 24 hour breakfast is what has truly made them a name for themselves. Whether you fancy a full English, porridge or buttermilk pancakes, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes. Expect to see a doorman on guard at busy periods, and be prepared to queue. Prices aren’t the cheapest (you’ll have to part with £4.50 for a sausage bap), but if you’re looking for something other than a kebab in the early hours, then you’re paying for convenience more than anything.


Bar ItaliaBar Italia

Bar Italia
Mon – Sun: 24 hours

Crowd: People-watchers and celebs

This is the place to go in Soho for a sobering coffee in the middle of the night. Coffee is freshly ground in this family run restaurant, and the staff pride themselves on making their coffee below boiling point so it doesn’t burn. The food isn’t particularly renowned, but Bar Italia is an ideal spot for people-watching in Soho – keep an eye out for celebs, as the owners claim Kylie Minogue, Boy George and Rupert Everett are regulars.


Tinseltown DinerTinseltown Diner

Mon – Thurs: Noon – 5am, Fri – Sat: Noon – 4am, Sunday: Noon – 3am

Crowd: A mix of post-clubbers and those simply wanting a late night quality burger or shake

This American diner sells 50 flavours of ice-cream milkshakes and 60 different burgers – how’s that for choice? There are four restaurants around London, which all open at midday, but the Farringdon branch is the only one open late. Their website regularly runs offers for free late night milkshakes if you’re looking for a cheaper, post-clubbing dairy delight. Expect standard diner-style dining, with less than tasteful green booths for you to sit in as you enjoy your food and the music videos that blast out of the flat screen TVs adorning the walls.



Mon – Sun: 24 hours

Crowd: Locals and drunken revelers

Offering a Turkish alternative to kebabs, this Dalston eatery is known for its small range of traditional stews. The menu changes regularly and it might not be the best cuisine you’ve ever eaten, but prices aren’t steep, so it’s a good option for a cheap late night bite. There’s also a selection of sweet desserts if you’re still wanting more.


Balans CafeBalans Cafe

Balans Cafe
Mon – Sun: 24 hours

Crowd: Post-clubbers with class

Located in the heart of Soho, Balans Café offers a comfortable dining atmosphere throughout the night. The nighttime menu offers something different to your normal post-clubbing delights, with breakfasts and mains from a range of cuisine types. With sister restaurants (that have more restricted opening hours) around London and in Miami, Balans Café has created a reputation for itself as a place to eat and drink no matter what time of the day it is. There are large and small plates available and although prices are higher than a kebab, if you’re in need of something more substantial there’s plenty of choice at Balans that don’t come with that horrible morning feeling of regret. 


Mon – Sun: 24 hours

Crowd: Post-clubbers, tourists and locals

Named after the year when the British handed Hong Kong to the Chinese, 1997 offers eat in and takeaway food. Cantonese cuisine is served throughout the night at this Chinatown eatery. It’s a favourite for locals and tourists alike, with a wide range of rice and noodle dishes. The interior is comfortable, although the figurines of Chairman Mao and Princess Diana that watch over you whilst you dine could be seen as a little off-putting. Its Soho location makes it an ideal place to stop off for some food after a big night out. You can even carry on the party with Cantonese pop blasting out of the jukebox for an authentic end to the evening.


New MayflowerNew Mayflower

New Mayflower
Mon – Sun: 5pm – 4am

Crowd: Chinatown locals and post-clubbers

Open until 4am, New Mayflower prepares food fresh on the premises. The restaurant is well established in Chinatown and its two floors have plenty of space for diners. The restaurant can cater for private parties of up to 100, whilst takeaway is available if you are merely stopping for food before heading back into the city’s nightlife. Don’t be surprised if it looks a bit cramped at times, that just shows the popularity of the place.




Tues – Weds: 5:30pm – 2am, Thurs – Sat: 5:30pm – 3am

Crowd: Quirky diners looking for 1930s style entertainment

Live entertainment and dining combine to create the true Floridita experience. It boasts decadent interiors and an iconic cocktail bar to entertain diners well into the night. The main attraction here is the Floridita stage, which offers nightly entertainment by resident Floridita All-Stars, who lead the way on Friday and Saturday nights. If you want to witness a fusion of Latin rhythms and funk and soul at the weekend, then this is the place to be. Truly decadent.



Maroush II
Mon – Sun: Noon – 5am

Crowd: Foodies looking for a cultural treat after a night out

The busiest hours at Maroush II are between 10pm and 3am. Set over three floors, this Lebanese restaurant serves a wide range of dishes including pastries, hot mezze and house specialities. Open from midday to 5am, this Beauchamp Place eatery is one of several owned by Marouf Abouzaki. Having owned Lebanese restaurants for more than thirty years, Abouzaki created these restaurants as welcoming places for families by day, but equally suitable venues for the late night crowds. This outlet is smaller than others in the Maroush empire, but serves the same high quality cuisine as its larger cousins.


Hk DinerHK Diner

HK Diner
Mon – Sun: 11am – 4am

Crowd: Hong Kong natives and Chinatown locals

HK Diner’s attractive exterior makes it stand out amongst the colourful streets of Chinatown. As well as the expected dishes of roasted meats with rice, the restaurant offers clay-pot dishes for a more authentic sizzling taste. Takeaway and waiter service are both available, just don’t order too much as the portions are a bit on the large side. If you go with a Cantonese speaker, order off that menu instead of the English translated menu, as not everything correlates. Whatever you order, the best accompaniment to a late night Chinese here has to be the bubble tea.

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Nicole DalamagasAugust 10th 2011.

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